Measure S in hands of voters

Voters will decide in a special election Sept. 19 whether or not to approve Measure S, which would provide $6.5 million for recreational facilities.

If a two-thirds majority favors of the measure, South Shore is in for an ice rink, playing fields, maintenance for both 25 miles of bike paths and improvements at Tahoe Paradise Park.

John Upton, a South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce representative, said the projects provide the community with a "once-in-a-generation opportunity."

"After 25 years of failed alternatives, we finally have something that can work," he said.

The South Lake Tahoe Recreation Facilities Joint Powers Authority, comprised of the city of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County and Tahoe Paradise Resort Improvement District, unanimously voted Wednesday to bring the bond measure before voters in South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County within the Lake Tahoe Basin.

While the JPA has come to terms with the specific physical needs of the project, the difference between the $5.3 million estimated cost and the $6.5 million bond has raised some eyebrows throughout the community.

JPA board member and City Councilman Hal Cole had some concerns about the estimated costs of the project vs. the bond limit amount and called for a future meeting to discuss these differences in further detail.

"We want the project done in a timely fashion and first class," Cole said.

These additional dollars, according to Upton, are for financing costs, the required $500,000 reserve fund needed to establish a AAA rating with financial rating companies. The rest is for any additional costs should any occur.

However, despite any fluctuation in project costs, the taxes voters will be asked to pay are not subject to change. The fee would be $18 for homeowners, $9 for low-income homeowners and would be applied to businesses on a variable scale.

Kenneth Brown, a seasonal Tahoe Keys resident, questioned a measure that would force a tax on residents like himself who are registered to vote out of state and don't have an opportunity to vote on the project for which, as he claims, will offer little for people like him.

"It's a whole lot of money and obligation over 30 years," he said.

If passed, Measure S would bring a $3.8 million ice rink facility to Rufus Allen Boulevard, four new playing fields near Lake Tahoe Community College for $1.3 million and $200,000 in improvements for Tahoe Paradise Park. In addition, the bond would provide about $225,000 per year for maintenance for the new fields, Tahoe Paradise Park and for 25 miles of bike trails to be built by the California Tahoe Conservancy.

The project, however, is a "perishable opportunity," Upton said. The $12 million that will create a 9.2-mile bike path that would run from Meyers to Stateline on the old California Department of Transportation right-of-way is contingent on the passing of Measure S. Also, $500,000 from El Dorado County for playing fields is also contingent on Measure S passing.

Business owners who want to find out their specific tax rates should contact city or county offices.


Proposition NO. A: To maintain new bike trails, acquire, construct and equip athletic fields and an ice rink, upgrade Paradise Park Facilities, qualify for $12.5 million in County/State grants, and fund reserves shall (i) Community Facilities District No. 2000-1 of the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Facilities Joint Powers Authority issue $6,500,000 of bonds (ii) levy special taxes to pay for such facilities for maintenance thereof, and incidental expenses, including debt service on such bonds; (iii) establish the District's annual appropriations limit at $6,500,000 all as provided in Resolution 05 and 06 of the Authority?


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